Bible Study Fellowship Kingdom Divided with Hollie Roberts 

Hollie Roberts joins The Call, Hollie is the Executive Director of Bible Study Fellowship an International in-depth Bible Study that meets all over the world in person and online. Hollie talks about why we study the Bible, what we are currently studying, and Hollie’s life before Bible Study Fellowship and how she got there.


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Joining us today on The Call is Hollie Roberts she’s executive Director of Bible Study Fellowship International in-depth Bible study that meets all over the world in person and online and she’s going to talk about why we study the Bible what we are currently studying and a little bit about Hollie too. Hollie thank you for coming on today

thanks for having me it’s a pleasure to be here

it’s so awesome to have you there’s so many BSF-er’s out there they want to know about you what’s going on what are you gonna talk about today we’re so excited to have you I’ve been a BSF leader since 2016 and each year I learn something new about who God is and how he is in control of our world in our lives can you share with my audience why we study the Bible together

oh I think that’s a great question and let me say Nancy thank you for leading cause of Christ stepping in In this role there’s lots of different ways to do it BSF is certainly not the only place you can serve  the cause of Christ but it’s one and we are grateful for every person who said yes to that call from the Lord and you know so BSFs vision is to magnify God Mature his people and so when we think about why do we study together we actually go back to that vision and there’s several components to that one of the components to studying together is we see a community mindset models and how we’re supposed to think about the church so if you think about how Jesus talked about the church it was an individual component and there was an inter-dependents in their dependency with other individuals so whether it was one body or one building or one household we we we were meant to be inter dependent in inter relational even in how we interact with it, that’s one reason we study together and maybe the other reason we study together is a little more practical and that as we’ve got our own blind spots so you can go back to when God says  sin is crouching at your door at desires to have you Genesis 4:6 and Cain can’t see that sincrouching at the door he needed somebody to say that to him so in a community type environment you get to hear somebody else say something that might just be speaking to your blind spot and they’re not in there telling youthis is your blind spot but the Holy Spirit is often prompt and you to say that that’s you that’s you and many of us have had that moment where that was us so I think those are I mean I can give you a list of reasons but I think those are a couple of really important reason somebody else to see something that maybe our eye or I didn’t see our our ear didn’t hear and I Certainly that’s how the church is supposed to look is modeled together in community I mean there’s always that it teaches us humility too as we learn from each other just when you think you have it figured out somebody else comes in and just says something that takes your breath away and you’re like I never even thought about that lots lots of good reasons to be together in community and study the word together

absolutely the fellowshiping is the most important part whether you’re online or your or your in person we need to have each other and then just bounce all these great things like you said we didn’t see that now we see it and sometimes it just comes into us know andwe really love I love that part I love when someone in the group says hey this was a great I just learned something today that is awesome I never saw it that way so you know we’re currently studying kingdom divided which is awesome you know here’s here’s the book I’ve got mine handy too says they’re up up in your corner kingdom divided you know how do you see God working in heart through this study

it’s just been incredible so one of the great privileges of being a part of the headquarters staff as we feel like we get this backstage view of things we hear stories that maybe other people don’t hear and so just this week as a part of our our gathering on Tuesdays we have this Tuesday gathering of the staff and there’s a little communication and vision time just this week we talked about a man who is recently executed on death row  and so this man gave his life to Christ and before the execution had an opportunity for that those prisoners to share it together and he just talked about how  he’s ready He talked about how the Lord has worked in his life and that that’s just incredible and I went to a prison group this year and listened and I didn’t know what to expect to be perfectly honest and I’ve not been to a  BSF discussion group in a prison  before and so I’m wondering where will their spiritual maturity be what will be interaction look like and I have to tell you and it was the richest discussion group I’ve ever been a part of the end and it was the discussion group where they were no vacuums of air like the men are jumping in and they’re sharing in the real and it just reminded me in that environment nobody was pretending to be anybody I’d like there is no pretense in that environment so that created the space for just some incredible sharing and then just this week in in one of our classes So last year a gentleman brought his children to BSF often they had a children’s leader and that’s how it works last year that he brought them the whole year that had a children’s leader fast forward to this year that children’s leader needs a kidney transplant and they’re a whole group I’ve been praying for a kidney well un beknowst  to the children’s leader the father had brought his kids for the whole year went through the process to find out he’s a perfect match and he said you know how could I not make the sacrifice for this children’s leader who has poured so much truth into  my daughter I mean incredible stories there’s groups of BSF that’s going on in Nicaragua because when one of our group when I’m one of our BSF leaders when they’re adult daughter went there for mission work And she gets there to do mission work and she dies there for health reasons not her persecution and at that point the BSF leader the momand her husband decide to move to Nicaragua and open a home for trafficked women and former prostitutes to carry on the mission work and now they’re doing BSF that in Spanish with those women and it’s it’s been  two or three questions a day it’s not the full on but it’s what they can read and understand them and process stories after stories and then I think the other place we see incredible stories in families and there are so many stories of generational impact we just trained a new teaching leader whose grandmother is 91 years old she was a teaching leader who trained under Miss Johnson still is in an online group today  but here’s this 30 years and just this generational faithfulness through stories can go on and on and on because there’s so many incredible ones how that is awesome I didn’t even know what I didn’t know that that they went into jails that’s something that yeah oh so that’s the heart of a group leader who says there’s a prison in my community and in both of the cases that I reference their group leaders are traveling an hour or so and going through all the process which I mean when I went in they they search like they pat you down it’s worse than going to the airport they pack you down you can’t take anything and you go through this process and there’s just people out there men and women who feel incredibly called to take this into the prison systems and we we had a $25 check contribution Mailed to us this year from another prisoner on death row who said this has impacted my life so much and I just wanted to encourage you all and in most states if you’re not up in your prison knowledge in most states prisoners have a certain amount they can have in their bank account and it’s limited and in some states they’re this particular state they’re required to buy their own supplies and toiletries from that lemonade amount of money and then he sent us everything he had for the month that particular month and sending us that $25 contribution so the word of God is going out in all sorts of places because leaders like you are interested in seeing what they need is in their community and thinking about how can I take the word of God to a place where they can’t come to us 

You know Hollie it makes me think how like in the past there’s been people that I Interview here that I’ll mention I I am a BSF leader and many of them know BSF, yeah but many of them now set the record straight you know it used to be very staunch right now they loosen the reins to talk about that because I think people should know you know it’s not you don’t have to come in a perfect uniform or you know it’s not anybody banging that talk about that 

well I’d be happy to send yes BSF had a season and then in fact I started BSF up in the season where there were there were many guidelines around how you would participate in BSF and those ranged from things like answering your questions in order to participate also to how many times you missed and every one of those guidelines had a valid why I mean they were I can remember stories and I had a woman who trained with Miss Johnson and in one of the classes I taught and she told me the story from miss Johnsons lips so Miss Johnson if you’re listening and you’re thinking who is that person Audrey Wetherell Johnson was the founder of BSF in the 50s and so this person’s told me a story from Miss Johnson’s lips where two women or argue and about their denomination and one reaches out and slaps the other one and miss Johnson says well it’s probably gonna be a good idea if we don’t talk about our denomination we get to BSF so I do wanna say they all had a very valid why and then I wanna say they want to acknowledge that they they probably were taken too far sometimes that we we probably went too far with our procedures and so Susie Rowan my processor was well known for saying let’s let’s remember people over a procedure and what we see now is that the The western world is changing so while people would come and study and want to participate in that old frame of reference we want to knock down all the unnecessary barriers to people coming in and studying the word of God because there’s something incredibly valuable about it so if you’re thinking I know BSF and I got lots of rules or it was my grandmother study no probably not it’s probably not the same study your grandmother did and just the same way grandmother that did it and there is quite a bit of flexibility in creating the opportunity just to participate online and not even go to a class which is what I find people don’t always know when I talk to them about it but yeah we  changed so if you think you know it you might you might be surprised to give it another try yeah you know there’s so many people out there they don’t know the Bible and this is such an amazing way and there’s people that come in they don’t know anything about the Bible at all Don’t be afraid of that come in and study and everybody comes around you and helps you and teaches you helps teach you about what’s happening in in the Bible in the study and then you get a lecture so it’s it’s amazing right  to that point iI am in a BSF online group leader this year so I have a co-leader I know I’m a leader and we do it together for when I can’t be there but we have in my group I have somebody who’s brand new to the Bible and I want you to know she’s teaching us more than we are teaching her so what’s fascinating about that is when you get somebody who’s reading it fresh you know it’s very possible to be the person who read it was such deep familiarity that you lose the freshness of it and she reads it so freshly In her own in her own study time that when she shares theirs there’s a vast range of BSF experience in my group and many of us sit back and think Lord you just taught me something through her so that’s the beauty of community to whether you you’re remit for the first time or you’ve read it for 300 times you’re both going to learn from each other in this journey 

The Holy Spirit guides us too He guides us  into all truth and understanding of what we’re learning in science so let me shift a little bit in and ask you Hollie where in your faith journey where was the bend in the road for you 

Oh great question and couple things to know about me so my family lives in upstate New York for a season and then we moved to this little town Lubbock Texas well not little I’m so sorry if you’re listening But it felt different from upstate New York we made this town in Texas and I have a sister who’s 15 a brother who’s 13 and on about five or six when we moved and my parents at churches were few and far between where we lived in upstate New York so we had family Bible studies that’s what we did we did them on Sunday we did them on Wednesday we invited the neighbors that’s what it looked like but there were more churches and more availability and it was important to be part of a larger body so so my brother and we all go to church my my brother hears the gospel in a way that I think was fresh to him and that moment he heard here’s this kid from upstate New York and he heard Jesus will be your friend and his story would be I was so radically different I didn’t even know we didn’t dress the same we didn’t look the same there’s no Internet at this point to even be catching up on trends Jesus will be your friend and he really gave his life to the Lord and in that season and that becomes my pivotal season because he decides to disciple his little sister so my first pivotal season is being paid a quarter to memorize scripture so Romans 8:1 and two was where we started still have a committed to memory walking through scripture memory he would sit with me he would teach me things he would warn me of things all of this kind of stuff so so in one bed that’s really good like that is what you want right but but on another belt if you’re not careful that that turns into self-righteousness so I would say there was a journey as I wasn’t  I learned from him and so a lot of even what you hear for me today it’s been invested at 5,6,7,8 years Old and in that journey but it was a journey of some self-righteousness and I remember actually after coming to BSF in my early 20s and thinking of myself what what was that was that me thinking I’m good enough and I’m doing it right or or was that really the spirit working and me and convicting  me and God later showed me when and how that was really the spirit working but there’s a self-righteous Hollie out there that I still apologize to people if I meet them in my past and and have sought a few people out to say I was probably pretty hard on you in that season and probably a little bit judgmental of you and if you felt that way I’m deeply sorry for that because there’s no excuse for that so little bit of self righteousness but the Lord used BSF and used my brother to kind of poor a lot into me through the season 

I love it so now can you share how people all over the world and in their communities how they can study with Bible study fellowship 

absolutely I’d love to so you you may or may not be familiar but be at Bible Study Fellowship has three ways to participate in it of course there’s an in person experience where you can go to our website and search for a class that meets near you and classes meet in the daytime and then meet in the evening time all the classes had some opportunity for a kids or student program depending on when the class meets where it meets so that’s one way to do it we also were innovating with some  BSF online in August 2020 and in March 2021 that turned out to be or I guess in August 2019 and then in March 20 20 that turned out to be more than an evation so we do have a way to participate in BSF in an online experience so my group meets at 6:45 AM on Monday morning which is 4:45 PM for the lady in Nairobi that’s in my group and in for different people all over the world but we have an opportunity to say I can’t get in my car and drive somewhere I don’t have that kind of time but I can spend an hour a week in conversation with people around the word of God and so that’s through BSF online and we also have an app and at the same time we’re innovating with BSF online we are innovating with this app called WORDGO and word go you can download from the Google store the Apple store and it is it is the methodology and the thought and the doctrine and the Richness behind BSF content in a way that you can take it anywhere you wanna take it you can use it with anybody wanna use it you can use it individually or you can gather a group of people together it’s free all of the material is free and I think that’s important for people to know  but those are the ways you can engage with BSF right now I’m really what that means we actually what we let me I didn’t say that the way I’d love to see it those are the ways you can engage with God’s word those are the places in ways that BSF has said let us facilitate you having an opportunity to be in God’s word because at the end of the day BSF doesn’t save anybody we don’t we don’t we’re not doing anything we want to be a vehicle and a vessel by which we make it simple and easy and digestible to get in the word of God and we put some resources around you to help you as you study God’s word Ways to participate 

Such incredible resources too and all of it is free and it’s free so that’s the great part of it and you know I just wanna give a little plug for my local group these women in my group  I have a great group but the leaders are amazing and the leaders we pray for each other and we’re there for each other and you know it’s just a different kind of relationship than anybody can experience so that’s my two cents about my great leader and in Jersey  and so you know what would you like to leave the audience with today 

what a great question I would like for you to know that there is incredible hope in Jesus there is incredible hope in the gospel There is a high calling if you call yourself a Christian and claim to be a Christian we have a great calling a great privilege and a great responsibility I see it in people of the promised kingdom divided in that the people who were called the people of God did not respond as people of God should so we’re gonna study these prophets we’re gonna go to the own people and say quit your injustice stop your meaningless offerings you go through all the motions of being a person of God but your heart is far from God I want I want I wanna call up those who claim to be followers of Jesus and say there is something we are called to in the season we can bring hope we can bring we can be agents of reconciliation we can be agents of peace we can be Agents of restoration or we can be like people the people of the promising kingdom divided and get caught up in all the mess and right now right now the world is getting more and more hostile to Christians and Christianity and we have an opportunity to just walk alongside people love them well live in relationship with them and share the good news of Jesus because if we don’t nobody will so I would just raise everybody sights up to say this is a privilege to live in the season and yet it comes with great responsibility and God is allowing you and giving us an opportunity to be agents of hope and reconciliation let’s step into that and be empowered by the Holy Spirit and see what God might do with it

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